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The Heavenly Tabernacle
The tabernacle built in the days of Moses was the center of divine worship in Israel. It was a figure for the time then present, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered at that time — while good and righteous and from God — were not yet the perfect sacrifice, which was yet to come (Hebrews 9:9).
Assembling and Dismantling
“In the first month of the second year [of the Exodus], on the first of the month, the tabernacle was assembled. Moses put up the tabernacle. He set up the bases, placed the beams in them...” (Exodus 40:17-18)
Could Not Leave?
Do not leave the the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for seven days, until your period of inauguration is complete; because your installation ceremony shall last for seven days. Remain in the Tent of Meeting’s entrance day and night for seven days. You will keep God’s charge and not die, since this is what was commanded. (Leviticus 8:33, 35)
Testifying About What?
“These are the accountings of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of the Testimony...” (Exodus 38:21)
The Greatness of Betzalel
“And Betzalel the son of Uri the son of Chur of the tribe of Judah made all that the LORD commanded to Moses.” (Exodus 38:22)
The Purpose of the Tabernacle
“All the wise-hearted craftsmen among them made the Tabernacle... and the Tabernacle was one.” (Exodus 36:8-13)
The Types of the Tabernacle
The tabernacle was the product of a community effort most willingly undertaken to provide a centre where God might be worshipped in the way He had decreed.
The Curtains and Veils
In a former chapter we quoted the main features of Israel’s camp, in imagination passing through the spacious outer court, through the first veil of the Tabernacle and to the door of the Most Holy. Now we must again take note of these matters, raising the question as to their meaning.
Construction of the Tabernacle
Usual though it may be to point out, at the commencement of an article such as this, the principal reasons for making such a study, we prefer to leave others to bring forward those reasons, and merely content ourselves with the fact that this unique building, of which we write, has proved of sufficient interest to merit the attention of many notable scholars over a considerable period of years. The word unique, in connection with the tabernacle, is used advisedly. For we find no less an authority on the history of architecture than Sir Banister Fletcher, in his book entitled “A History of Architecture on the Comparative Basis” (a purely secular book) making a statement to this effect, “Tents of sheepskins speak for themselves and are still as much in use among Bedouin Arabs and other nomadic tribes as they can have been in historic times; and our thoughts turn naturally to the Tabernacle for the Ark of the Covenant with its sheepskins and many woven hangings of silk and linen, which was carried by the Israelites through the desert, and was the apotheosis of the tent of shepherds in the dawn of man’s life on the earth.” Such words, found as they are in the opening chapters of a book which subsequently deals with the outstanding religious buildings of all ages, show very clearly that the Tabernacle is worthy of more than passing interest. To say that it merits the word unique is to the student of the Word of God most obvious.
The Tabernacle: Its Significance to Israel
One of the most glorious Divine mosaics portrayed in the Scriptures is contained in the latter books of the Pentateuch. Moses was the artist, impelled by Divine inspiration. The Israelites, ordained as a nation of Divine witness and worship, formed the tessellated pieces in a setting of wilderness and desert. Viewed from some neighbouring height, the encampment of this holy people formed a mighty square some twelve miles in circuit! Yet how irresistibly would the eye be drawn to that isolated Tent outstanding in their midst! What meant the Tabernacle to Israel? The answer would depend entirely upon the type of Israelite to whom the question was addressed.
A Tabernacle Ridge Pole?
I have recently been considering in much detail the Tabernacle and Ezekiel’s Temple, and shall be glad if you will help me…
The Tent and the Tabernacle
Divine Law was not given to the world for the first time when the Children of Israel received the Law at the hand of Moses. It was written of Abraham that he “kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws”¹; and it is possible to deduce from Genesis a little of the structure of the Patriarchal system of ordinances and worship. Nevertheless, the Mosaic Law alone is recorded for us in detail, and this can only be because it has a direct bearing upon our own salvation, for “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”²
Undesigned Coincidences: The Tabernacle and the Wagon Offerings
The argument which I have next to produce has been urged by Dr. Graves (On the Pentateuch, Vol. i. p. 111), though others had noticed it before him (See Dr. Patrick on Numbers 7:7, 8); I shall not, however, scruple to introduce it here in its order, connected as it is with several more arguments, all relating to the economy of the camp.
(הקּדשׁ, ha-ḳōdhesh, Exodus 26:33, ההכל, ha-hēkhāl, 1 Kings 6:17, etc.; ἡ πρώτη σκηνή, hē prō̇tē skēnḗ, Hebrews 9:6 f):
tab ́ẽr-na-k'l (מועד אהל, ‘ōhel mō‛ēdh “tent of meeting,” משׁכּן, mishkān, “dwelling”; σκηνή, skēnḗ):
The portable tent-like structure that served the Israelites as a sanctuary during their wanderings in the wilderness and in the early period of their life in Palestine. It is chiefly in Exodus 26 and its parallel, ib. 36:8-38, that the oldest sanctuary of YHWH is mentioned. Its fundamental part consisted of a framework of acacia-wood. Each board was 10 cubits long and 1½ cubits broad (an old Hebraic cubit measured probably, like the Babylonian, 55.5 cm.). The north and south sides each contained twenty such boards (ib. 26:18, 20). The western side consisted of six similar boards (ib. verse 22), with the addition of two more which were to join the western with the northern and southern sides, respectively, in a manner rather obscurely described (ib. verses 23-25). These forty-eight boards were fixed in silver sockets, two to each board, bymeans of “hands” (“yadot”), i.e., tenons, and they were kept from falling apart by five cross-bars on a side (ib. verses 26-28). The eastern side remained open.
A word translated in the A. V. by “badger.” Taḥash-skins were used in making the outer covering of the tent of meeting (Exodus 26:14), and covers for various utensils used in the Tabernacle: for the Ark of the Covenant (Numbers 4:6), the showbread table (ib. 4:8), the candelabrum (ib. 4:10), the golden altar (ib. 4:11), and the altar (ib. 4:14). They were used also in the making of sandals (Ezekiel 16:10). The Targum on Exodus 25:5 translates “taḥash” by “brilliant”; the Septuagint reads ὑακίνθινα = “hyacinth-colored”; the Vulgate, similarly. Rashi and Ibn Ezra take it as the name of an animal, but make no attempt at identification (commentary ad loc.). Modern commentators disagree. It has been suggested that it means the dolphin, or some animal like it. This is based on a comparison with the Arabic “taḥas.” An Egyptian origin is assigned it by Bondi. Delitzsch (“Prolegomena,” pp. 77 et seq.) has probably solved the problem by a comparison with the Assyrian word “taḥshu” = “wether,” and from the passages quoted it is clear that wether-skin was also used by the Assyrians for purposes of covering; e.g., Shalmaneser used such skins for covering boats. The expression used by him, “mashak taḥshu,” corresponds exactly with the Hebrew term “‘orot teḥashim” (= A. V. “skins of badgers”); and the Targum translates “‘orot” by “mashke,” which is exactly the same word as the Assyrian “mashak.” “Wether-skins,” therefore, seems the most probable interpretation of the Hebrew “‘orot taḥash”; at all events, “badger-skins” is quite impossible, since far too few badgers were to be found to allow of such extensive use as is indicated by Numbers 4 and Exodus 26.
Tabernacle is the rendering, in the A. V., of the following Heb. and Gr. words;
Table of Shew-bread
Table Of Shew-Bread, (שֻׁלחִן הִפָּנַים, table of the faces, Numbers 4:7; שֻׁלחִן הִמִּעֲרֵכֶת, table of the arrangement, 1 Chronicles 28:16; הִשֻּׁלחָן הִטָּהֹר, the pure table, Leviticus 24:6; 2 Chronicles 13:11; Sept. ἡ τράπεζα τῆς προθέσεως), one of the pieces of furniture in the Mosaic tabernacle (Exodus 25:23 sq.; 37:10 sq.), in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 7:48; comp; 2 Chronicles 29:18), in its restoration by Zerubbabel (1 Maccabees 1:22), and in Herod’s reconstruction of that edifice (Josephus, War, 7:5, 5). It stood in the outer apartment or holy place, on the right hand or north side, and was made of acacia (shittim) wood, two cubits long, one broad, and one and a half high, and covered with laminate of gold. According to the Mishna (Menach. 11:5), it was ten handbreadths long and five wide; other traditions make it twelve handbreadths long and six wide. The top of the leaf of this table was encircled by a border or rim (זֵר, a crown or wreath) of gold. The frame of the table, immediately below the leaf, was encircled with a piece of wood of about four inches in breadth, around the edge of which was a rim or border (מַסגֶּרֶת, a margin) similar to that around the leaf. A little lower down, but at equal distances from the top of the table, there were four rings of gold fastened to the legs, through which staves covered with gold were inserted for the purpose of carrying it (Exodus 25:23-28; 37:10-16). The description of Josephus, which is quite minute, varies in several particulars (Ant. 3, 6,6). These rings were not found in the table which was afterwards made for the Temple, nor indeed in any of the sacred furniture, where they had previously been, except in the ark of the covenant. Twelve unleavened loaves were placed upon this table, which were sprinkled with frankincense (the Sept. adds salt; Leviticus 24:7). The number twelve represented the twelve tribes, and was not diminished after the defection of ten of the tribes from the worship of God in his sanctuary, because the covenant with the sons of Abraham was not formally abrogated, and because there were still many true Israelites among the apostatizing tribes. The twelve loaves were also a constant record against them, and served as a standing testimonial that their proper place was before the forsaken altar of Jehovah (see Philo, Opp. 2, 151; Clem. Alex. Strom. 6:279).
Tent, (usually and properly אֹהֶל, ôhel, so called from glittering [Gesenius] or being round [Fürst], σκηνή; both occasionally “tabernacle;” elsewhere מַשׁכָּן, mishkcn, a. dwelling [Song of Solomon 1:8], the regular term for “tabernacle;” סֻכָּה, sukkah [2 Samuel 11:11], a “booth;” or קֻבָּה, kubbdh’, a dome like pavilion, only in Numbers 2:8), a movable habitation, made of curtains extended upon poles. SEE TABERNACLE.
Erection of the Tabernacle and the Sacred Vessels
Erection of the Tabernacle and the Sacred Vessels
The Holy of Holies (1890)
The Holy of Holies
Pekudei (2008 watercolor)
Pillar of Cloud Over the Tabernacle
The Tabernacle at the Foot Mount Sinai
The Tabernacle Floor Plan
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness
The Tent of Meeting
Tent of the Meeting in the Wilderness
The Tabernacle (Hebrew: מִשְׁכַּן, mishkan, “residence” or “dwelling place”), according to the Hebrew Bible, was the portable earthly dwelling place for the Shekhinah from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built of woven layers of curtains along with 48 standing boards clad with polished gold and held in place by 5 bars per side the middle bar shooting through from end to end and other items made from the gold, silver, brass, furs, jewels, and other valuable materials taken out of Egypt at God’s orders, and according to specifications revealed by Yahweh (God) to Moses at Mount Sinai, it was transported by the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness and their conquest of the Promised Land. Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem superseded it as the dwelling-place of God some 300 years later.